BOZEMAN — What seemed like a distant dream is now just days away from becoming a reality.
ESPN's College GameDay is coming to Bozeman for one of college football’s most historic rivalries, and not only is this a first for the Treasure State, but the popular pregame show has never come to a Big Sky campus.
However, that’s of course until this Saturday.
“You know, we worked really hard last year - as everyone knows - trying to get it in Missoula," Big Sky Commissioner Tom Wistrcill reflected. "Felt like we had a great shot, but it didn’t happen. All the people at ESPN kept telling us to just keep at it. Just keep the social media push going. Keep people talking about it. Keep doing creative things, and so when I got the text this morning from my friends there at 6:15 a.m., I was speechless.”
As was most of Montana, but as Bobcat athletic director Leon Costello shared, he and his staff didn’t waste a single second getting to work.
“They did tell us that they would be here at 9 o’clock in the morning on Sunday if we were selected, so some of them flew in last night," Costello shared. "They were there at 9 o’clock this morning. We had a campus tour in the snow as it was snowing for them to look at different sites on where they wanted to host the show on Saturday morning. Then we talked all logistics. They really wanted to try and capture the uniqueness of the state of Montana and Bozeman and our athletic department and university, and so I think you’re going to see a lot of those things within the show.”
While the venue remains a secret for the time being – as well as the celebrity guest picker – what we do know is there’s a big push to tap into Pat McAfee’s daring side.
"We want to play that up a little bit," Costello laughed. "Maybe get him on a horse. Maybe take him to the rodeo practice facility, see if he’ll get on something, and ride it around. It would be kind of fun just to show really the country and the world the culture we have here in the state of Montana. Obviously, rodeo is a huge part of that, and now that they're in the athletic department it would be great to showcase them as well.”
Montana State says they hope to have a breakdown by Wednesday with a map of the set, as well as logistics for parking, entrances, and a schedule leading up to kickoff.
However, in the meantime, here are two things the Big Sky commissioner really wants fans to know:
“Number one, you have to get there early. It’s going to fill up," he said. "The best places to stand and participate are going to fill up quickly, so you have to get there early. Then number two you have to come up with the most creative but clean signs that they can show on TV.”
College GameDay begins bright and early at 7 a.m. MT this upcoming Saturday.
Kickoff for the 121st Brawl of the Wild will follow at noon, which will be returning to the MTN airwaves for the first time in 10 years.